By Lenore Fedow
A costume jewelry necklace with freshwater pearls from Carolee’s fall 2018 collection. Jewelry brands Carolee and Alexis Bittar are owned by Brooks Brothers, which has found a buyer amid its bankruptcy proceedings.
New York—Brooks Brothers has found a buyer after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July.

After fielding bids during a competitive sales process, the retailer chose licensing company Authentic Brands Group and SPARC Group LLC, a partnership between Authentic Brands and mall owner Simon Property Group.

The winning bid was for $325 million for both the company’s operations and its intellectual property portfolio.

The initial bid was for $305 million, but the price was raised as competition heated up.

The retailer had begun looking for a buyer or merger opportunity in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in its plans, leading to a bankruptcy filing.

SPARC has agreed to keep at least 125 Brooks Brothers retail locations in business in an effort to preserve the brand.

The company operates 424 retail and outlet stores, including 236 in the U.S., as per court documents.

Founded in 1818 as H. & D.H. Brooks & Co. in New York, Brooks Brothers is the oldest apparel company in the United States, the company said in its bankruptcy filing.

The retailer’s jewelry subsidiary Deconic Group LLC, which manufactures, merchandises, markets, sells and licenses the Alexis Bittar and Carolee fashion jewelry brands, also filed for bankruptcy.

Brooks Brothers acquired Carolee LLC in 2001 and, under Carolee, Alexis Bittar in 2016. It overhauled its fashion jewelry business in 2017, relaunching as Deconic.

The deal is subject to court approval, but is expected to close by the end of August.

The bidders have a long history of scooping up troubled companies. 

The duo also recently placed the winning bid for denim company Lucky Brand for $140.1 million.

Authentic Brands bought Barneys New York last year and partnered with mall owners Simon and Brookfield Property Partners to buy Forever 21 earlier this year.

TAGS:   Retail
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